CBC lets viewers choose

The broadcaster is inviting viewers of The Fifth Estate to vote on how a live-to-air investigation will pan out during tomorrow night's episode.
Kidnapped

The CBC is dabbling in choose-your-own-adventure storytelling with the season finale of The Fifth Estate – which airs on Friday at 9 p.m. (EST) and 9:30 p.m. (NT) – allowing viewers to literally choose the path in which a kidnapping investigation will go.

The April 6 episode will broadcast a loose recreation of the kidnapping and finding of Graham McMynn (a young man who was snatched in broad daylight in 2006) with the show host, Bob McKeown, inviting viewers to weigh in how they would like to see the investigation pan out.

Just before each commercial break during the one-hour “Kidnapped” episode, viewers will be invited to decide what investigators should do next by scanning the QR code on their screen, voting via the show’s Facebook page or by tweeting their vote on Twitter.

In addition to the broadcast, CBC has also set up an interactive simulation of the police investigation on its news website, enabling viewers to continue the investigation long after the episode has aired on TV.

Marissa Nelson, managing editor, CBCNews.ca, tells MiC that one of the reasons behind creating the companion game was to bring a new product to its CBC news audience that may not be frequent viewers of The Fifth Estate.

“CBCnews.ca has a really broad audience and we’re hoping that they will be engaged with the investigative journalism that The Fifth Estate is doing,” she adds. “There may very well be audiences that aren’t necessarily watching The Fifth Estate and so we’re hoping to bring [the show] new audiences.”

Being that the episode revolves around an element of social media and that the game is online, says Nelson, the CBC is hoping that it will also attract a younger audience to the show.

To drive viewers to the interactive web game, TV spots (created in-house) will air during the final episode of The Fifth Estate and during other CBC programming, and ad units have also been placed on the broadcaster’s online properties.